Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wedding Planning Course October 24 2008 Updates!

I have great news about our next course CAES 100. As you are all aware this class was going to be cut off at 16 students. We have decided to expand to 30! We now have a rooms that can hold more and the best news is..... The location is at Skylands Manor New Jersey Botanical Gardens! This castle is amazing! Not only do you get to experience one of the most prestigious properties in NJ, but we are now including an overnight stay with your class at n/c! There are no strings attached! The fee has not been increased it is $850! Anyone who has already signed up for the class is able to take advantage of this offer! Please let us know so we can make reservations for you! Space is limited and overnight accommodations can only be used for the night before the class or the day of the class. We have 12 openings left in this class. This will be our final class for 2008! The next class will not occur until March 2009. The fee will be increased to $995. Sign up today! Save some money and get a taste of a great venue! Time is ticking and the tri-state area is going to need some fresh faces for the newly engaged! Did you know that 20% of engagements happen around Thanksgiving through New years? Now is the time to refresh your memory or change careers! This may be your ticket to happiness!

To Gift and Re-gift...Is It Wrong?

I have been asked time and time again, how do I feel about getting gifts at weddings or even worse being re gifted. I completely understand that many people are against registering. They think it is cold or rude to ask for anything. However, if the couple does not want the gift, they most likely are going to throw it away or...RE-GIFT ha! This is what starts the 6 degrees of separation. With my luck, it would end up at a friends home. The same friend who bought it for us! Can you imagine? My question to you wouldn't it be better to get a couple what they want instead of buying something you like and hope they like it? When I was engaged, my MIL threw my husband and I a beautiful shower in Philadelphia. She invited friends of my husband and of course friends of his parents. We had not registered at this point, so I was not expecting to receive any gifts. To my surprise we had many gift givers...Some were fantastic and others left me speechless. As much as I was thankful, all I kept thinking about is how are we going to lugg all of these gifts back to Chicago? This included the gifts we did not like and had no way to return them. If we follow Peggy Post about manners she would say it is proper etiquette to bring the host a gift when invited for a party or a dinner. I always like to bring a bottle of wine, a cute cooking book maybe even a dessert. I feel lost without having some token of appreciation. Do you ever feel that way? Anyway, (my selective ADD is coming into this story)after the party was over, my husband and I began to open gifts. I felt like it was Christmas and we were two eager children who could not wait until the morning. While some gifts were extremely thoughtful or creative we had a few that made me say "How did this jump out at you"? Does fresh dirt always come with a new vase? Maybe I am missing something here. I realize these guests did not know me and to be honest, I would not expect a gift from anyone regardless. However, since they insisted on giving something, wouldn't be fair to ask someone what we may want or need? We must have had about 60 gifts which was overwhelming by itself. I will never forget the moment I opened this fantastically decorated box and to my surprise there were 2 acorn shaped mini candy dishes. I held them up and my fiance' suggested maybe they are antiques...I looked at him and said OK you have to be kidding me. These were not antiques they were used goods. After staring at the tarnished set, I muffled I think we have been re-gifted. I remember his mother being adamant and saying they have to be something special. I know they(her friends) would never re gift a used item. They have to be antique. I felt pretty secure with what my gut was telling me. I suggested we go to an antique store and see what type of antique they were. Maybe we were holding onto a treasure worth millions. Well if something that was tarnished and had an engraved date of 1993 is considered an antique we would be in really good shape! I need to clean out my closets! 1993 here we come! So how did we get this gift? Did they shop around their home? Did they go through the closet inventory and say, I know Samantha and Andrew would love this acorn dish let's give them something that has brought us great joy? I hardly think so! I am sure you know by now, I had the gift checked out and yes...They were nothing more than extremely tarnished acorn dishes! Sadly, I do not have the heart to dump them and I could never re-gift them knowing my luck they would ask for the receipt to return them! After 8 years, I still have the acorns! Have you ever been re gifted? Even better have you ever been gifted an item that was used? What did you do? Please join us in celebrating the "The Little Stuff" If you email us a great story you can win a free hour consultation on how to plan your wedding or ask any questions you like? It will be the most productive 60 minutes you will ever have! You can use this time in any way you choose! We can design a spreadsheet to keep you organized. There's always the acorns if you don't want to use the consultation! Good Luck! Samantha

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Malinda and Derrick..Photo's at Last!

I have linked to Malinda's blog on I have also included her thoughts about the wedding! We could not be more excited about the outcome. Thank you again to everyone on my team and the vendors who brought her dream to life! I first want to say thanks again to everyone who has followed the blog. It was extremely helpful and inspiring to be able to express myself during the wedding planning process. I am so grateful to ESSENCE for giving me this opportunity as I had no idea what a blessing it would be to so many women, myself included. I truly enjoyed all of the feedback and believe me, it all served to help me remain calm on the big day. What a day it was indeed. It was amazing. I mean, simply perfect. I would not have changed a single thing. Every single detail fell into place and went off perfectly on cue. My groom was as handsome as any groom could be and I truly felt my most beautiful. Our guests applauded as the bridal party entered the room. Derrick and his boys carried themselves as, and commanded the respect of royalty. My girls, my maids were fabulously stunning as they floated down the aisle with the grace and elegance of a thousand princesses. If you are in the NY tri-state area and are looking for a venue to hold an event, do not discount the impressive Mezzanine in Newark, NJ. We were wowed the first time we entered the place, with its grand columns and gold licked ceilings. It was a gorgeous place without the dressing, but once the vendors added the decor it was transformed into a magical, enchanted backdrop for our lovely day. The brothers Frungillo were incredible. Not once did they so much as blink at one of our many requests. The food was delectable and every time we turned around, Ben Frungillo, whom we now affectionately refer to as "Cuz", was right there to make sure we had everything we needed. They are truly in the business of "making it happen". Derrick and I were thoroughly pleased and impressed with their first class service. Although we enjoyed ourselves, I am grateful for pictures and video because the night goes by very quickly. There are only brief moments that you really find time to take it all in. We never ate our wedding cake. lol. Silly of us. I will have the baker make us one fresh tier that we will enjoy next week. We now look back on the video and photos, and each glimpse of the day seems even more lovely than we remember. Thank you Samantha Goldberg. Wedding planning is no joke. You do it well and without your expertise, I may have fallen apart. The hours preceding the event were truly memorable as well. My girls and I, including the mothers, all enjoyed room service at the Short Hills Hilton as we bonded over Lillie Frierson-King's barrel curls, smokey eye shadow, and self served manicures. Mary J. Blige provided much of the soundtrack with the exception of some soothing Reiki Forest meditation music during the presentation of gifts. I gave each bridesmaid a delicate gold and silver necklace with tiny pendants, each with different words. Hope, Grow, Love, Namaste, Dream, and Faith. I too had one for myself that says "I am". I think Monifa, our makeup artist was proud as we fought back the waterworks that would surely have loosened our perfectly pressed faces. It was a touching moment that I will never forget and thankfully, was captured on film by our photographer and friend Jonathan Mannion. I must give special mention to Lisa and the team from A Touch Of Elegance Florist in Rockaway, NJ. There are few words that can accurately convey their work. Breathtaking, heavenly and spectacular could work. Lisa listened to our vision and hit the nail square on the head. It was exactly what we wanted. The centerpieces were airy arrangements of white hydrangea and calla lillies, flanked by vases with floating candles and moss strewn river rocks. Also included in the design were branches of curly willow. This theme was carried through to the cocktail room as well as the ceremony room. I was especially impressed with an archway of eight-foot tall curly willow branches that was also adorned with white hydrangea flowers. Thank you Lisa. You are an angel. There is so much more, but I will let ESSENCE tell the rest in the magazine. Even still, I can hardly contain my joy, and look forward to sharing so much more with you. Until then, keep the faith, and stay in grace. All my best, Malinda Williams

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Congrats To Malinda Williams and Derrick Jones!

Well the dynamic couple finally tied the knot this weekend! It was the perfect ending to a long time in planning. Malinda walked with such grace and confidence down the aisle to her beloved Derrick. It was like watching a movie. Derrick's expression as he waited for her was like he had seen her for the first time. The song "Evergreen" was played by a wonderful Harpist. You arms would have had goose bumps. I am one who believes that one's "perfect" is different than the others. This was a perfect moment for the both of them. It was apparent to see the love in that room. I hardly get a chance to watch my clients walk down the aisle without being pulled in a million directions. This was a treat. There is always something special with every wedding I plan where I walk away feeling as complete as my clients. I am not sure if it means I am confident that the couple is happy and we can now celebrate the intense amount of planning, or that we both feel the pressure of getting there at ease. Whatever it is I felt it more than ever on Saturday night. I know that everyone has been dying to see photos and to hear the entire story. I can only tell you keep an eye on and the magazine. The photographers were on the couple and their surroundings non-stop. I am sure the photos are going to be priceless. I will share some later as I want to respect Malinda's agreement with Essence. I know that some of you are disappointed with me doing celebrity weddings or events. You have written about this directly to me or posted elsewhere. I want you to know this is not new for me. I have always been involved on some level. I also want you to know that I will continue to work with any budget. I try very hard to keep some of my work private due to my clients request. Everyone deserves privacy right? I do not even mention most of our clients for that very reason. I hope that you will understand there are many things about my business or personal life that are not exactly the way you see or think. Most of the time, I am not afraid to give information. I do feel there are times where it may not be appropriate. I am so thankful for the support you have given me. Without your letters or comments to stay strong, I would have a much harder time getting adjusted. It's nice to know that there are so many people who believe in me. I do not ever want to destroy that support! Your letters and emails are priceless. I am getting into more of the media side of the industry and I really like it. I love giving advice on what's new and trendy. I never thought I would say I enjoy writing but I do. I look forward to sharing my successes with all of you very soon. My successes are also yours! We celebrate together! I want to thank Lisa from A Touch of Elegance for the amazing florals. Frungillos Catering Jerry and Ben who made this event happen! Bob from Visions Lighting who watches out for me where-ever I go. He says something positive when things are not at their best! I always need that reminder so thank you! Thank you to Melissa and Adhari for your great back up support at the wedding. Most of all thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Derrick Jones for believing in my ability. You both were extremely non-judgemental, not demanding and very trusting. That is what makes me tick!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wedding Planning Course For Brides ONLY Now Open To The Public

Good Evening Everyone! It's 10:45pm and I am still working! Pathetic huh? For those to want to work in the industry after your wedding, just know you must create balance for both work and home. I know this may seem crazy, but once you set a time-line for the big day, you will be able to enjoy some lull time...Not focusing on the wedding 24/7. It's just not healthy! Do you agree with me? For over 10 years I have had a "pay as you go" planning package. The benefit for the Bride was they always had someone to go through everything to ensure a stress free day. This continues to be an invaluable service. Jennifer Orsini along with myself anticipate having this course in the beginning of Nov 2008. This will work for Brides that are on TIGHT budgets or brides who do not want a planner, but want to have the knowledge and correct paperwork to stay organized. The course will take approximately 4 hours and does include lunch. Here are some incentives for the Budget Bride. What if someone were to give you the correct paperwork to get started. This includes time-lines, budget spreadsheets and assistance with negotiations with vendors to make things more affordable? Why pay listed fees with any service? Why do research only to find you cannot afford someone or something? We have compiled a list of several, Photographers, Videographers, B ands, DJ's, Florists, Favor Companies, Venues, Wedding Gowns and much more. It has taken us years to develop relationships that allow us to help you financially. If you decide you may want a planner for the day of, there will be over 18 attending to interview with you. They have discounted their fees tremendously so that you can afford to be a guest at your wedding. If you choose this option. We are NOT for any reason going to be talking about this during the class. This is another service that you can follow up with after the course. We only ask if you do sign with one of our planners that you remember to recommend us. This is a great way for us to continue with the program. It will not be advertised due to the large response rate from a test email 2 weeks ago. My blog is the only way you will hear about this course. The class allows for 50 people. We currently after 1 week, have 11 seats taken. I will update this on a weekly basis so that you will be aware when we are reaching our limit. ** Incentive for Brides that tell other Brides about the course, you will receive $50 off the fee. The course will be taking place at a VERY prestigious venue/bed and breakfast in NJ. If you need hotel accommodations, this may be complimentary. I cannot announce the name at this time. However, if you live in NJ..You will be thrilled with where we are having it. The fee for the course (I know you have been wondering about this since the beginning!) $425.00 This is a very fair fee for recieving professional assistance from coordinators that are very seasoned. The stated fee includes Breakfast, snacks, Lunch, all of the paperwork you need and 3pages of vendors that you CAN afford. If you are limited with certain vendors, believe me when I tell you, they will work an event for less. Everything is always negotiable. ***The fee also includes phone calls if you need advice and unlimited emails. Moms of the Brides can attend along with their daughter at n/c. There will be a small fee of $30 for breakfast and lunch. Please let us know in advance if you are going to be coming with a family member. We also offer payment plans. You can decide weekly, monthly or whatever you feel comfortable with. This comes in handy especially while you are paying other vendors as well. We are the only system out there whom can assist you inexpensively and making the process FUN! We have done all of the leg work for you. Now all you have to do is get started! Vendors, if you are interested in being on our preferred vendor list for new Brides, please contact us for more information at (908)450-9766 We look forward to posting the November date and meeting all of you! Reserve you seat today. Best, Samantha Goldberg and Jennifer Orsini

You Asked For It & Now We Have It! One Last Class for 2008!

I have great news for aspiring planners and for those who need a refresher course with fresh ideas. We have received numerous requests for one last class The CAES series 100 for 2008! This will be our 9th class this year! I am happy to announce we found a location and are ready to go. The last class for 2008 is Oct 24th at The Westwood 438 North Ave Garwood NJ Time: 9:30am-3:30pm We will not be offering another class until March of 2009. The class is a beginners course or a refresher for those who are seasoned. The feedback we have received is priceless. One student even mentioned that this was more informative than the wedding organization courses they took. I cannot mention names, but I will tell you it is one of the bigger groups! This was quite the compliment! I am going to begin listing the letters of praise when I get permission from each person who had attended. We will go over personality profiling, sales, how to get started in the industry, organization, forms that need to be completed with your clients, time lines, what you should be charging, what each service means and much more. It is a lot of information, but VERY easy to learn. I originally said I would have 12 people in the class (a nice number). However, I now have 6 seats taken. We have decided to open the class to 20. This may be our biggest class yet The fee for the class is $850. You can make as many payments as you need as long as the balance is paid by or before Oct 24th. The fee includes all materials to get started in your business, Breakfast, Lunch and snacks. All students that complete the course will receive certificates. Contact us ASAP to reserve your seat. A small deposit will do! *** I have an incentive for those who can pay in full upon completing our questionnaire. I will give $50 off the fee of $850 if you sign up before August 31st. Email us at for more information. Phone (908) 450-9766 Hope to see you there! Samantha Godlberg and Jenny Orsini

Friday, August 8, 2008

CNBC "On The Money" Samantha Goldberg Was On Tonight!

For those of you that are looking for great ways to save money on your upcoming nuptials, I have attached a link from our taping this evening. I had the extreme pleasure of working with CNBC "On The Money". The set was lively and the topic was great! I have attached both links for your review. I hope this helps you save a little $$$! (Live feed on web) Best, Samantha

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Attention Fabulous Budget Brides We Are Back! We have a "BIG" promotion for August-September!

Lately, several emails have come in asking me "what happened to the budget bride part of your business"? I just want you to know, it's never really stopped! I have put myself in another direction lately with being a Television Personality and advocate with-in the media. I never stop giving advice on how to save money! I thought if I do not have as much time as I used to, why not give advice globally? The only way to do this is to write about it. I want to assist as many brides as possible, and now with my excellent team in place, I have the tools to move forward. I know times are hard right now. The economy stinks I hear ya! So the good news is...I am introducing my staff into the marketplace along with myself and offering a 20% discount on any package booked for 2008-2009. This is during the months of August and September only. You can get married at anytime, but need to have a contract in place by the end of September. I may not be able to attend each event, but I sure can put your budget to work and get you what you need to make this day work! For those who have watched the show in the past, I have done some fantastic things on a low budget. I thank the great mentors I've had in the professional beauty and fashion industry for giving me the training to work with any budget. Let's forget about the bad economy for a while and get you the help you need. I have so many vendors who are willing to negotiate a better option based on the slow time of year. We look forward to your call! Remember no matter how extravagant some weddings are, there is always a way to mimic what you love for less! How do you think they came up with discount designer stores? I sound like a commercial ha! Be on the look out for the Star Ledger's "Brides and Grooms" in September. I will be giving some great advice on how to do a wedding for under $30,000. Each issue will give valuable information on how to save $$$! I know you find the information useful and I love sharing my pearls! Please mention this posting when emailing or calling. Thanks Everyone! ***Contracts already in house do not apply for this offer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tale From A Bride....How Do I know He Was The One?

How does anyone know if your chosen mate is truly the one and only? I remember watching Serendipity with John Cusack, do you remember that movie??? I LOVE that movie. The premise of the movie was all about leaving things to fate. It really made you think. We are such control freaks in most cases that we do not trust that whatever is going to happen will happen without help from us! If we get too involved then how do we know what was really supposed to happen? Last year, I entered into a contract with a bride (we will call her Sally). Sally was a very outgoing gal who seemed very caught up in the whole planning and "I am in love" circle. She had the attitude that if she could get through this planning, with the in-laws she was starting to hate, the bad habits of the groom already eating at her patience and a family she could not rely on, everything would be fabulous. I am not sure how everything could be fabulous considering this beginning was not going in the right direction. Every now and then I would get a call from Sally asking my opinions about the relationship and "if this seemed right". It was so hard being the "planner" to give such personal advice and all I could tell her was to follow her gut. These feelings inside do not go away. My philosophy on the good day/ bad day are not signs of a happy outcome. I know couples have disagreements about wedding planning and guests lists, the band and the minuet dealings. But once you begin questioning the person you are going to marry, the only thing you can rely on is your gut. I know there are many brides who have entered into marriage with the insecure feeling that "again, something is not right'. We can't put our fingers on it, but it makes us sick at night. I have been there. I have been engaged a few times...and for different reasons, it just wasn't right. Most of the time you are able to pin point and fix the issue, by calling the wedding off or at least putting it on hold. But what happens to those that assume that things will change? I have been asked this question time and time again, how many couples do you think have ended up in divorce? For as much as I like to ignore that question, I know the facts. I do know what couples are going to have issues. Heck, I am there while they are planning and arguing. What can I say, I cannot tell them to not do it? I mean I would love to, but professionally I cannot. Getting back to Sally...Sally had HUGE doubts about this marriage. Her fiance' "Tim" had huge issues with drinking. She knew this prior to entering into this agreement. He started to cut back after she basically said this is not going to work if you drink. He stopped for a while, but the day of the rehearsal, he showed up an hour late for it, smelled like a brewery and looked at no one but the wall. Again, what do I say, what is appropriate? She let it go. The next day she would see him was at the wedding in the morning. We made it to the wedding day. That morning, I received at least 10 calls. One after another. The wedding is on, the wedding is off...I remember training a new employee and her looking at me asking "is it always this way with brides"? "I was like not really". What did I know? So badly, I wanted to pull Sally aside and say don't do this, not now give it some time. I just could not go there. This was not the first time I have witnessed a bride going into a relationship with BIG issues ahead. In fact this is not the first bride who entered into marriage while the other half had a drinking issue. Bottom line she married him anyway. Why? I am not sure. I had a conversation with Sally today. Sadly, she is now pregnant and separated. She asked me why I never said anything. I just did not think it was my place. I have to say, I am proud of her for realizing this is no way to bring a child into the world. I think this provides valuable information for my clients and for readers of the BLOG. I thanked her for allowing me to publish this. Her advice to new brides who have unsure thoughts about marriage to LISTEN to your gut. Things do not change just because you get married. She mentioned she went through with it because it felt right at the time. She thought their feelings for each other could change the already existing problems he had. What she realized was that he had to want to change on his own. He is not there yet. I am happy to say she is trying to work on herself right now. I am glad she allowed me to share this with you. I know there are brides and grooms who have these issues. I hope this may shed some light on someone who reads this. Thanks Sally! We wish you the best of everything life has to offer.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Planner or No Planner, How Does One Know What You Need?

If weddings were not complicated enough, now you throw the question of hiring a planner your way? It is a complicated thing to answer. How does one know if they need a planner? I can only tell you based on my experience, brides and grooms that are ready to relinquish some control and trust, have the advantage. They know the value of what someone can do for them when they have no time, no patience and need an unbiased approach. Without this thought process, we are truly a waste. I cannot think of any planner who wants to show up to an event and do nothing. The true planner wants to feel they are of value and are needed. When I planned my wedding I knew that I would have to hire someone outside of my company to assist. Not because I could not do the planning on my own, it was more-so that I did not want the stress of "doing it" on my own. In my career of watching couples go through the stress of planning a wedding, buying a home, merging families, starting a new life with someone...It is enough to make anyone go crazy. The media jokes about the "Brideszilla" or the "Groomzilla" I have experienced both mind you. This behaviour stems from planning a wedding? It's true. How does one day, a glorified party cause someone to crack? One who puts too much pressure on everything being perfect. If I could erase that word from one's vocabulary I would. No such thing. Even if I were to hire 5 planners for a job, no such thing as perfect. A planner does not make things perfect. I wish we had the ability to make such things occur. If you know anyone who promises you this, it is your signal to run! Wrong person for the job! When clients come in to meet with us for the first time, I always discuss the reason for the planner. Why do you feel you need a planner? I want to make sure they realize, we may take the stress away by handling tedious tasks and helping them create the vision. In the end, we are their partner in crime. However, we cannot promise perfection. The great thing about the word "perfect" is that every one's meaning is different. My perfect is certainly not someone else's. I would never try to push an idea on anyone unless they asked my opinion. When you hire someone to assist you in creating this day, you have to decide how involved you want us to be. What does it mean when you say I need your help? Think about how someone like us can make your life easier. How do you know we are the right person for the job? Did we get what you said you needed? Do you feel our personalities will mesh well? During our meeting do you really feel we can give you what you are looking for? Think about this. The most important thing to remember as you make your decision, can you work with someone like us for the entire planning process? Once you have answered the most important questions about your day, you are sure to have found the right partner to bring your vision to life!
I devote my time to ensuring our clients recieve fab service. There's another "calling" for me. To give back to my peers that aspire to be the next "best" fancy pants somebody! Those who play it safe standing behind me, will fail. I do serve as a warning to others and yes, I'm nutty. It's who I am & it's not going to change, as it works. Feel free to comment & join me on what could be the best road trip EVER!

Not That Sassi Planner Again???

Bling and Pearls Can Be The Icing on The Cake!

Bling and Pearls Can Be The Icing on The Cake!
Too Good Too Eat.

Just admit it, I say off the wall things...And it works!